June 23, 2009
In January, without any recognizable corporate media coverage, Rep. Bob Filner, a California Democrat, introducedH.R. 675. The bill would amend title 10 of the United States Code and extend to civilian employees of the Department of Defense the authority to execute warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms. The bill was referred to the Armed Services Committee on January 26, 2009.
Filner’s bill would amend the United States code with the following: “Sec. 1585b. Law enforcement officers of the Department of Defense: authority to execute warrants, make arrests, and carry firearms… for any offense against the United States.” (Emphasis added.)
The Posse Comitatus Act, passed on June 18, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, limits the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits members of the federal uniformed services from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property within the United States.
H.R. 675 sidesteps Posse Comitatus by defining “law enforcement officer of the Department of Defense” as “a civilian employee of the Department of Defense,” including federal police officers, detectives, criminal investigators, special agents, and game law enforcement officers classified by the Office of Personnel Management Occupational Series 0083 (the United States Office of Personnel Management is described as an “independent agency” of the U.S. government that manages the civil service of the federal government).
In 2005, the Office of Personnel Management partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to create a “21st century human resources management system that fully supports the Department’s vital mission,” according to then Office of Personnel Management Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Policy Ron Sanders.
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